Friday, July 31, 2015

Texas Ranger On The Move

July 31, 2015
   Went home for lunch and grabbed a painting out of the morgue that I thought could use a tweak or two.

Daily Whip Out: "Texas Rangers On The Move"

   I love those guys and the brutal world they rode in. Not the most politically correct position, but hey, sue me. The model for this image was Dave Daiss who rode his little pony up Ocotillo and into his driveway at a fast clip. The irony here is he looks like John Wayne. Wasn't supposed to be, wasn't even trying, but sometimes you start with Dave Daiss and you end up with The Duke. It just happens.

"Write a story where your real love and your real hatred somehow get onto the paper."
—Ray Bradbury

Walkdown Second Thoughts

July 31, 2015
   Would it change your opinion of the Tombstone street fight if you knew the McLaury family called him Tommy? Or, that Tommy and his brother Frank were leaving the next day to attend their sister's wedding? 

 Daily Whip Out: "Walkdown Second Thoughts."

   Would it change your opinion of Doc Holliday if you knew he gave both barrels of the Wells Fargo shotgun into Tommy McLaury, who was unarmed?

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Holliday Fades"

      And would you think differently about the Earps if you knew one of them was gay?

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Earp And His Younger Brother Warren"

    Only if you have a heart.

"To understand all, is to forgive all."
—Old French Saying

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wyatt Earp Hates Me!

July 30, 2015
   I think it's safe to say Wyatt Earp would hate me. I'm part of the press, or, as he might call it: media scum.
   If you don't believe me, look at how disgusted Wyatt Earp is in this photograph from the 1920s.

Wyatt Earp Disgusted, 1920s

   The truth is he had good reason to be angry. For one thing, he hated the press, especially after what they did to him after the infamous Sharkey-Ftizsimmons fight in 1896. That was in San Francisco and Earp was the referee in a heavyweight fight where Earp called a foul on Fitzsimmons and threw, or, ahem, awarded the purse to the underdog, Sharkey. The newspapers had a field day calling it a fixed fight and calling Earp a crook. From Wyatt's point of view, they printed lies, they never did fact checking and they had no shame. You can see the disdain in his eyes 30 years later, and you can almost hear what he's thinking: "You're not going to dredge up a bunch of crap about my life once again, are you? And then print it in some damned rag?"

   Well, yes we are, but with all due respect, Mister Earp, we did extensive fact checking, everything is totally true and we actually have some shame issues, just not on this subject.

"Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children."
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

New Meaning to Taking Care of Your Friends

July 30, 2015
   Finishing the big Wyatt Earp In Hollywood opus this morning. Since I'm dealing with the movie outlaws in the last outlaw town (Hollywood), one tidbit I am trying to shoehorn in somewhere is the Jack Warner comment to John Wayne, after The Duke's Batjac Production Co. ran into financial difficulties: "You really ought to bring Batjac back to Warner Bros, Duke. You should be here, where you can be f---- by friends." If you want to understand Hollywood, that says it all.

John Wayne in "West of The Divide," (1934)

"Wayne got into a beef with [Jack] Warner about the costs of a picture Wayne had made; Warner's hung us on that one too. Warner's promptly threw away the rest of the pictures. . .we got a good screwing, because of the way Warner's released the picture."
—William Clothier, who photographed a Batjac production of "Good-bye My Lady" which cost $900,000 and had world rentals of $677,000, and with Warner's creative book keeping the film showed even more of a loss. Both quotes and the above information are from the excellent book "John Wayne: The Life & Legend" by Scott Eyman. I highly recommend it.

Goldroad Connections

July 30, 2015
   When I was a kid we used to go out to Goldroad, a ghost town not far from Oatman. I never could find a connection to anyone famous that worked or lived there, until last week when I found out John Flood's lifelong partner, Edgar Beaver, worked in a mine there. Three degrees of Wyatt Earp! 

 Daily Whip Out: "Goldroad Prospector."

Mary Doria Russell has a new book out called "Epitaph" and in it she tells the story of Wyatt Earp, the gunfight in Tombstone and Sadie Earp's attempt to get his story told by utilizing a mining engineer named John Flood. In the book, which is a novel, John Flood has a partner named Edgar Beaver, which I found to be just a tad too precious and awful close to Eager Beaver, so I asked her about the character and got this response:


You haven't heard of Edgar Beaver because I believe Epitaph breaks new ground on this subject. 

The Edgar Beaver data was unearthed by Deirdre Robinson, one of my Genealogy Genies -- a group of readers who volunteered to do some research on several of the characters in Epitaph.

Summary of findings:

Edgar Everett Beaver, b. August 26, 1881 in Ohio to Samuel Beaver (1839-1915) and Malinda Cecile Handley Beaver (1842-1935). Edgar was the 9th of 10 children.

Edgar is listed in the 1900 census in Sharon OH with his parents and four siblings. Father and two brothers were butchers.

In the 1910 census, Edgar E Beaver is a single white male, aged 28, a roomer, a miner in a gold mine in Gold Road, Mohave, AZ. This was about 50 miles from where John Flood once worked as a quartz miner, but we couldn't find anything that places them together in that time period.

John Flood was living in LA by 1907, but Edgar Beaver first shows up in the LA city directory in 1914/15.

He was in the army toward the end of WWI (1917-1919).

In the 1920 census, he is back in LA, employed at a bank; in 1930, he is listed as a salesman for securities and investments (bad timing...). He also worked as a journalist for several years, and that's what I chose to emphasize in the novel.

The first documentary record of John and Edgar being at the same address is in the 1920 LA city annual directory. Thereafter, the two men remain at the same address until death parted them in 1958. So, that's 38 years together. Not quite as long as Wyatt and Josie, but certainly a long stable relationship.

In the novel, I push the relationship back a bit so that Edgar can become part of the story when John meets the Earps, instead of a few years later.

In the 1940 census, they live at 2933 4th Avenue in LA. Edgar is no longer listed as Lodger but as "Partner," per Instructions to the Numerators: 

451. If two or more persons are not related by blood or marriage share a common dwelling unit as partners, write head for one and partner for the other or others.

John, being four years older, was listed as "Head."

Like John Flood, Edgar registered for the WW2 draft in 1942 at the age of 60; John Flood was 64. (See Epitaph for some background on the draft of old men.)

Their address is still 2933 4th Avenue, LA CA, according to their WW2 draft cards. John H. Flood is given as Edgar's contact:  "Person who will always know your address." Edgar was retired by then but John continued to work and listed his employer as his contact on the draft card. (Still closeted?)

Edgar died in LA on November 14,1958, just eight months after John. (Broken heart?)
He is buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

The 1910 US census places John Henry Flood Jr. (single white male, 32, b. 1878 in Philadelphia) on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Yuma AZ. There were quartz miners on the res at the time and given JHF's education at Yale as a mining engineer, best guess is that he had something to do with that.

He didn't graduate from Yale -- ran out of tuition money after 3 years.

—Mary Doria Russell

" Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."
—John W. Gardner

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thomas at Fort Thomas

July 29, 2015
   I was looking for a Raymond Chandler book the other day, hoping to poach weather descriptions of early Los Angeles for my Wyatt Earp feature. I distinctly remember his eloquent writing about Southern Cal weather and capturing in a phrase, rainstorms with drops of rain as "big as nickles." Never found the books, but did find this:

 Thomas Bell, 9, posing in front of the Fort Thomas sign,
 December 18, 1992, 6:05 p.m.

 We were on our way to Glenwood, New Mexico to stay at a hidden resort for my birthday, the next day, and then on to Lincoln, and we were late, but Tommy freaked out when he saw the sign and we had to stop and take the photo.  We got in to the resort very late and they served us a cold meal and we stayed in a cold cabin. The next day it snowed as we drove on to Lincoln and the kids had a snowball fight on the side of the road. At the time, Mr. Fort Thomas, was also big on Mangas Coloradas and was constantly bugging me on this trip to tell him stories about the Apache war chief.

   Got up this morning and reworked a painting that is the kicker to my Earp feature for the October issue. Remember those 1950s films of the early atom bomb tests where the house explodes? I had that film in my mind as I took another pass at this painting

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Explosion #2"

   And when all the hot air and gaseous emissions finally aligned, the bomb went off and the results were nuclear.

   Sometimes when I try to improve these paintings like this I ruin them, and sometimes I make them better. I usually never know the outcome until it's too late, but at least I take heart in something the Mad Dutchman said about this:

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."
—Ernest Hemingway

   No, wait, wrong guy—but great quote. Here's the actual quote:

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."
—Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Hath Wyatt Earp Wrought?

July 28, 2015
   Got up this morning and worked on another Wyatt Earp painting.

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt In The Wind"
Alternative Title: "Hey, Wyatt Earp, Stop Blowing Wind Up My Skirt!"

What Hath Wyatt Earp Wrought?
   We have Wyatt Earp to thank for inspiring the fast-draw sheriff of countless Westerns. But it's not his fault that the dude in the "Hour of The Gun" movie poster, below, has on a green cowboy hat and is pulling his gun out by the butt. Or, that the guy has on a dreaded buscadero rig, the least authentic holster in the history of the frontier universe. And we really can't blame Wyatt Earp for all the nitpickers who slam every movie for being historically inaccurate like I've just done. It's just crazy, man.

"Hour of The Gun" movie lobby poster, 1967

   All this, and more in the October issue of True West, featuring the cover story, "Wyatt Earp In Hollywood: The Untold Story of How Wyatt Earp Got Ripped Off By the Outlaws In The Last Outlaw Town." Plus, a new Doc Holliday photo? Could be, looks mighty good.

"Who's Wyatt Earp? Get me Wyatt Earp! Get me somebody who looks like Wyatt Earp! Who's Wyatt Earp?"
—A Typical Movie Mogul On The Four Stages of Movie Star Marketability

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Walkdown

July 27, 2015
   In my humble estimation, it is the defining moment in Wyatt Earp's life. Resolute and determined, four men turn the corner on Fremont Street on a blustery, cold day. Taking the middle of the road, they walk shoulder to shoulder to personally confront hard men who have threatened their lives.

   Worked all day yesterday on sketches and prep work for this scene:

The kitchen table loaded down with walkdown prep.

   Got up this morning and took a run at it:

Daily Whip Out: "The Walkdown #3"

  The clouds work for a blustery October day in Tombstone, but need to see more of the walkers and the Schieffelin Hall scale is off, need to tip the horizon to pop the quartet to make them more skybound yet keep them in the same scene with the building. Ideally I'd like to get in the O.K. Corral sign on the right, although by that time in the walk, they were moving back onto the south sidewalk. Still, I think I can fudge that into shape. Too much dust equally distributed. Needs to be more erratic as actual wind gusts would be. Still not aggressive enough on the body positions of the walkers. Needs work. Halfway there. Running out of time. What else is new?

   Okay, went home for lunch and took another run at the painting. Couldn't fix the design but did try and attack the dust to make it more organic and definitely brought out Doc Holliday more. Not perfect, but will have to do for the October issue.

Daily Whip Out: "The Walkdown #4" 

  Oh, and yes, the flag is at half mast because the country was still in mourning for the passing of President Garfield who died on September 19 from an assassin's bullet. He was only 49.

"For great things to happen you need two things: a creative imagination and not quite enough time."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Box Lip Darrell And Mister Ottipoby In Swat City

July 25, 2015
   Thanks to Andy Sansom, I got to revisit three Kingman legends.

Eighth Grade teacher Mr. Collins Ottipoby, spelling champ Barbara Hull and principal Blaine Benson at Kingman Junior High School, circa 1960

I had Mr. Ottipoby in Eighth Grade and he was a strict disciplinarian. He gave some mean swats. One day Box-Lip-Darrell (not his real name) played a trick on Denny Stahl  (his real name but probably misspelled) and, well, it's one of my typically long Kingman stories, but suffice to say, one of them got it good.

 In eighth grade we had three teachers, Collins Ottipoby (he had In-din blood), Paul Lamasney and Miss Huegenin (sic). She was just starting out and had zero discipline in her room. I remember we changed rooms and went to the teachers, and Lamasney's was on the west end, Huegenin's was in the middle and then Ottipoby's class on the east end. Ottipoby was my home room, but we went to the other 
classes for history and other subjects.

  Anyway, we would be good in Ottipoby's class and then be completely rowdy in her class. Kids like Denny Stahl (sic) would literally flaunt her authority and throw stuff. But the worst kid was John Pemberton who came into class one day with a heart taped on his shirt and told everybody he had "A heart-on." He also allegedly hung a kotex belt on her classroom door and she was very upset about it. 
She cried a couple times, and we were horrible and should have been ashamed of ourselves, but, of course, we were your typical stupid and arrogent eighth graders.

  And classmate Fred Grigg, who was bused in from Valentine, also flaunted authority in Lamasney's class, sitting with his legs up on his desk and when Lamasney told him to put them down, Fred just laughed and said something smart and Mr. Lamasney pretended he didn't hear it. However, I couldn't get away with that crap. One day Mr. Lamasney remarked how much he hated Billy the Kid (Mr. L was from Las Vegas, New Mexico) and that the outlaw shot everyone in the back. I smarted off and said, "he didn't shoot them in the back, they just didn't turn around fast enough" Got a big laugh, but i also got two swats. Really, really hurt, but I wore those swats with some pride. People forget that there is a good side to child abuse.

  But NOBODY acted out in Ottipoby's class. We knew he would tolerate no lip. Collins had this routine in the afternoon where we could study quietly and one or two kids at a time could go to the restroom. We would go by rows and we'd go out the door and down to the restroom at the far west end of the building. When one person would come back another would go. Well, one day Box-Lip-Darrel went down to the restroom and while he was out, Mr. Ottipoby left to go to the office and told us to behave. Well, as soon as he was gone, Denny Stahl left to go to the bathroom. Some time went by and I heard running steps outside the classroom. The door opened and it was Denny Stahl, who came in quickly, closed the door and held the door nob with two hands and leaned back to make double sure it couldn't be opened. Then we heard steps approaching the door. Someone outside turned the nob but the door wouldn't open because Denny was holding it closed with both hands and giggling demonically.

  There was another tug on the door, and this time the door opened more than a crack, but Denny pulled it back, and continued laughing at the nifty little trick he was pulling on Box-Lip-Darrel. Finally, there was a loud bang and the door swung violently open and Denny got a wild-eyed look on his face as two long arms came in and grabbed him by the lapels and jerked him out beyond our field of vision. The door slammed shut and we all heard Denny's pitiful apologies fade down the corridor.

   Thirty seconds later, Box-Lip-Darrel returned to the room, came in quietly and all of us were staring at him in disbelief and, oblivious to what had just happened, Box-Lip shrugged and said, "What?"

  Denny and Mr. Ottipoby came back from the bathroom about fifteen minutes later and Denny was shaking (this was before water-boarding but he looked like he had been through some major rendition). I seem to remember later asking Denny what Collins did to him, and him saying something about soaping his hands and Ottipody slamming him around the bathroom, but I may be wrong about that. Hell, I may be wrong about the whole damn incident. I met Fred Grigg at Charlie Waters' memorial service late last year and he told me Mr. Ottipoby is still alive and lives on the Laguna Reservation in New Mexico. I'd love to drop in on him next month when I'm over there for the Billy the Kid pageant (I'll be giving a talk on how Billy the Kid shot everybody in the back) and I just may do that. 

"Started humming a song from 1962, ain't it funny how the night moves. . ." 

—Bob Seger, "Night Moves".

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Tragedy of Wyatt and Mattie & Pimps From Iowa

July 24, 2015
   Lots of layout and catching up to do today. Started off early with a 5:30 a.m. radio phoner with the hosts Mike and Steve on Gulf Coast Radio. I was plugging the new Gunslingers II TV series which airs on Sunday. Here's the schedule:

Episode 1: Butch Cassidy – The Perfect Criminal – repeat air Sunday, July 26th at 9pm EST/8pm CT

Episode 2: Seth Bullock – Sheriff of Deadwood – premiers Sunday, July 26th at 10pm EST/9CT
Episode 3: Bat Masterson – Defender of Dodge – premiers  August 2nd, at 10pm EST/9CT
Episode 4: Bass Reeves – The Real Lone Ranger – premiers  August 9th, at 10pm EST/9CT
Episode 5: Bill Doolin and the Oklahombres – premiers  August 16th, at 10pm EST/9CT
Episode 6: Deacon Jim Miller – The Pious Assassin - – premiers  August 23rd, at 10pm EST/9CT

   Worked on a couple art pieces this morning before going into work:

Daily Whip Out: "The Tragedy of Wyatt And Mattie"

I also found this little study in the study this morning.

 Daily Whip Out: "Deena On Prom Night"

Sometimes I need a palette cleanser so I do something completely different to shake out the cobwebs:

Daily Whip Out: "Punk Sky At Twilight"

John Langallier came in from Tucson with a new photo find. He just bought this fantastic image of the guard house as San Carlos:

San Carlos Guard House, 1888

Here's a closer look:

Close-up On San Carlos Guard House

Check out the dude in the leg irons!

"Like most pimps, Al Swearengen was from Iowa."
—The line that got Mike and Steve of Gulf Coast Mornings this morning

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sadie The Conniving, Histrionic Diva

July 23, 2015
   She had a mission and she stayed on it until the end of her life. Bossy and paranoid, impetuous and mercurial, she was a beautiful woman who was used to getting her own way. Josephine "Sadie" Marcus Earp was, as they used to say, a handful.

   After Wyatt's death in 1929, she successfully demanded that the title of Stuart Lake's book be changed from "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Gunfighter" to "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal." She nixed a photo of Wyatt in shirt sleeves because she said it made him look like a ruffian. She hounded Lake with letters, demanding that "it must be a nice clean story." The hidden message being there must be no mention of Wyatt's other wife Mattie, or of Josie's involvement with Behan in Tombstone. When Lake wouldn't cave to all of her demands (like Flood had) she started telling people the book was full of "outright lies." She even traveled to Boston to plead with the publisher to stop the release of the book. They handled her with kid gloves and went on press in spite of her tears and threats.

   In 1934, Sadie sued Twentieth Century Fox who produced the first Frontier Marshal, claiming it was an unauthorized biography, so the producers simply changed the name of the main character to Michael Wyatt. A second version of Frontier Marshal starring Randolph Scott was produced in 1939 and Josie threatened to sue once again, but settled for $5,000.

   She told her in-laws and extended family members she never received a dime from Stuart Lake, but there are multiple receipts in the Lake Collection at the Huntington Library of monies paid out to Josie Earp for thousands of dollars (there are family rumors she gambled away a good part of the money.)

   According to Casey Tefertiller, in spite of her meddling and demands, one of the studios actually hired her to come on set to tell the actors how to portray Wyatt Earp. No doubt her advice emphasized that the actor be sure to talk with "pep" and always wear a jacket! 

   After reading about her nagging influence and blatant manipulation of the Flood manuscript I have to say, Sadie was one tiny little despot (she was barely over five feet tall). According to Mabel Earp Cason, Josie spoke with a “Brooklynese” accent.  No wonder Wyatt tried to say on her good side for 46 years—she was a little pistol!

  Daily Whip Out: "Sadie The Conniving,  Histrionic Diva"

    After her death in 1945 Lake got the contract with Sadie terminated and he kept all proceeds after that. Lake wrote another Wyatt Earp book in 1946 that became the basis for the John Ford film "My Darling Clementine" (1947) and he also got monies for "The Gunfight at The O.K. Corral" (1957) and he was a producer on the TV series "The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp." 

“You can’t tell me Wyatt was a killer. He lived with Josie for nearly fifty years!”
—Harold Ackerman, who endured a car trip to Tombstone with Josie

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New T-shirt Designs for The Doctor Will See You Now

July 22, 2015
   My crack designers, Dan The Man Harshberger and Rebecca Edwards are noodling new Doc Holliday T-shirt designs. See anything you like?

Design No. 1, "The Doctor Will See You Now"

Design No. 2, "The Doctor Will See You Now"

Who's The Bigger Fibber? Flood, Lake or Burns?

July 22, 2015
   This is a great question:

I have always wondered it Wyatt actually told Burns all the tall tales or if he told the real stories of Wichita and Dodge and Burns changed the hero to Wyatt. If Burns actually talked to people in Wichita and Dodge or did any research he would have seen Wyatt did not participate in these stories. If so why did he leave them in the book? 
—Tom B.

   Having just read the Flood manuscript, and after comparing it to Burns and Lake I think I have a pretty good idea of what happened: Wyatt is exaggerating his exploits in the Flood manuscript trying to make it commercial as a book and a possible movie. No problem there. Plus Wyatt was just about the last guy standing, with the possible exception of John Clum and Billy Breakenridge. Bat Masterson died a couple years before (and allegedly said the true story of the west will never be known until Wyatt Earp talks!), Morgan, Warren, James and Virgil were gone, Behan was gone, Earp mentions in the Flood manuscript he is the last guy standing from the Peace Commission photo. So he probably thinks there is no harm amping up his exploits a little to make a buck. In the Flood manuscript, Wyatt claims to have backed down Clay Allison in Dodge (they have a testy showdown with Wyatt standing in the street and Allison on horseback, and Allison leaves without firing a shot). Could have happened.

     Either Lake or Burns, I can't remember which, actually attended a reunion of old-timers in Dodge and interviewed them. Now, the last place you would go seeking the truth is a reunion. Hip boots required. If you don't believe me drop in on your high school reunion and listen to the stories. You might think you went to a different school.

   At any rate, Stewart Lake came in behind Flood and Burns and amped up everything. We did a comparison in True West about ten years ago, between the Burns and Lake accounts, shot for shot. If Burns says Ike Clanton and crew took two shots at Wyatt in the Tucson Rail-yard, Lake ups it to four (and by the way, nobody shot at Wyatt in the Tucson Rail-yard). In both Burns and Lake, in every single fight, there are more shots fired than the record shows. Now, granted neither Burns nor Lake have 109 CRACKs at the O.K. fight, but they are still amping everything up. 

   Lake added the most egregious fib with this:

Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp with his super weapon, The Buntline Special

    With the Buntline Special super weapon, Lake gives Earp his Excalibur (it is not in Flood or Burns). He also quotes Wyatt talking about it, which is highly suspect:

"There was a lot of talk in Dodge about the specials slowing us on the draw," Wyatt recalled. "Bat and Bill Tilghman cut off the barrels to make them standard length, but Bassett, Brown, and I kept ours as they came. Mine was my favorite over any other gun. I could jerk it as fast as I could my old one and I carried it at my right hip throughout my career as marshal. With it I did most of the six-gun work I had to do. My second gun, which I carried at my left hip, was the standard Colt's frontier model forty-five-caliber, single-action six-shooter with the seven-and-one-half inch barrel, the gun we called 'the Peacemaker.'"

   This is the biggest load of hooey in the history of the Old West and it doesn't even sound like Wyatt.

So, of all the B.S., Lake is the biggest fibber and laid it on the thickest, and his book sales and the subsequent movie and TV bonanza showed he gave the public what they wanted: a super lawman for the times. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say Lake turned Wyatt Earp into the Godzilla of the cowtowns. All the lying paid very well.

   With all of this on my mind, I got up this morning and did a little portrait with the notation that the past is a murky, hard-to-see-clearly place. Must be all that dust and gunpowder. 

 Daily Whip Out: "When The Smoke Clears."

"Art will fly if held too lightly, art will die if held too tightly. Lightly, tightly, how do I know whether I'm holding or letting go?"
—Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Face In The Mob And A Toadie to The Earps

July 21, 2015
   In yesterday's post I quoted Flood and Burns and Lake on the nature of the mob that confronted Wyatt Earp in front of Vogan's in Tombstone in the run up to the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce affair. As a recap, here they are:

Flood's mob: Wyatt claims there were 300 in the mob and they were coming at a run. He describes the scene of the mob armed "with picks and shovels were in their hands, and rifles and shotguns and long bars; implements that they had seized in hate, weapons that would kill and maim." He compares the scene to the French Revolution (that's probably Flood).

   And then Wyatt is alone facing the mob and "The venom of reptiles, the malice and the envy of bitter men, the wild, delerious [sic] frenzy of fanatics, the will of hate and vengeance fixed itself in the faces, almost adamantine, of the standing horde."

Burns' mob: "brutes stirring to fury, the note of menace unmistakable."

Lake's mob: "every man had a shotgun, rifle or six-gun, ready to pour lead into the lone peace officer."

  This is from James Covington Hancock, who was in Tombstone on the day of the stand-off and after Burns' book came out (Hancock was interviewed by Burns for the book), he, Hancock, claimed that the so-called lynch mob, was nothing more than "a bunch of 'rubber necks'—I was one of them myself—no one was armed and there was no demonstration of any kind."

   Lest you think Hancock was a ne'er do well Earp-hater and cowboy lover, Mr. Hancock served as a customs collector, justice of the peace, school board member and postmaster of Paradise, Arizona.

   Finished up a new version of that Fremont Street fight:

Daily Whip Out: "The Doctor Will See You Now. . .At The O.K. Corral"

Alternative title: "Let Them Have It! The Two Who Started The Fight, Doc and Morgan."

   This quote by Flood on Wyatt Earp's love of the Arizona blued sky is repeated twice. At the end of the book, and on page 106:

"There isn't any blue like it anywhere, the great, blue sky of old Tucson: that bends above it and hems it in 'round about."

Another sentence a paragraph later:

"Its sky of blue and its sunshiny sun; and Wyatt Earp stood beneath it, and he loved it, and the sands that blew upon him, in the daytime and when the stars were out."

    And finally, the last word goes to our friend who was part of the mob:

"In my opinion Mr. Burns must have been well paid by Wyatt Earp for writing this book judging by the way he toadies to them. . .it is to be regretted that as brilliant a writer as Mr. Burns is that he would stoop to such a dirty trick for a few dollars."
—James Hancock, on "Tombstone: An Iliad of The Southwest

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Wyatt Earp Myth: Who Exaggerated And Why?

July 20, 2015
   Now that I have a working knowledge of what Wyatt Earp claimed to have done in the Flood manuscript, we can start to see the progression of the myth-making process by comparing Wyatt's claims in the Flood, and then comparing those claims to Burns and, finally, to Lake. Let's start with a controversial episode: did Wyatt Earp stand off the Johnny Behind The Deuce mob single-handedly?

   In the Flood manuscript, Wyatt claims that a telephone call to the office of the Toughnut Mine informing Tombstone that "Johnny Behind The Deuce had shot the mine engineer at Charleston, and the Earps were aiding his escape." First of all, it is possible that the news reached Tombstone via a telephone since the mines had the latest technology and telephones connected from the mines to the Tombstone Stock Exchange, so that part, ahem, rings true. The second claim, that the Earps were aiding Mr. Deuce's escape has some validity, since the miners from Charleston who were chasing the killer saw that "the gambling element" in Tombstone was aiding his getaway (supposedly, the acting lawmen, Virgil Earp and Johnny Behan, requested their help). This, of course, incensed the mob because they felt that justice would not be done and that the gamblers of Tombstone were protecting one of their own. A very logical conclusion on the part of the Charleston crowd who didn't want Johnny Behind the Deuce to escape justice for a brutal killing.

John Flood as a young man and as an older reader of fine fiction.

   In the Flood version, earlier in the day, Virgil had taken Wyatt's horse Dick Naylor out for a ride and happened upon the buckboard with Deuce in it fleeing the horde following them. Virgil Earp takes the prisoner up behind him and rides into Tombstone (Burns claims Deuce was rescued on Jack McCann's filly Molly McCarthy)), Johnny blurts out he and the mining engineer were in a card game when the fight broke out. This is not true. Contemporary accounts note that the combatants were in a restaurant in Charleston and Schneider, the mining engineer, insulted Johnny (there is speculation that Deuce was behind a burglary at Schneider's cabin). Burns gives the correct version. Better research? Was Wyatt's memory faulty? Was that the scuttlebutt—the ill-fated card game—at the time and that's the way Wyatt remembered it? Still, Burns version is correct and the Flood is wrong on this point.

    In the Flood version, as the mob approached, Wyatt "had planned it all as he heard the first warning rumble up the street, and he began to make his vision real. He sent his brothers Virgil, Morgan and James, and Charlie Smith over to the impromptu jail in charge of the prisoner, and a moment later after locking the door to the place, he followed them to make sure of the barricade."

   "And then he stepped into the street." Wyatt claims there were 300 in the mob and they were coming at a run. He describes the scene of the mob armed "with picks and shovels were in their hands, and rifles and shotguns and long bars; implements that they had seized in hate, weapons that would kill and maim." He compares the scene to the French Revolution (that's probably Flood).

   And then Wyatt is alone facing the mob and "The venom of reptiles, the malice and the envy of bitter men, the wild, delerious [sic] frenzy of fanatics, the will of hate and vengeance fixed itself in the faces, almost adamantine, of the standing horde." Then:

Wyatt Earp holding off the mob in Classic Gunfights II

"What do you want!" [Earp] demanded.

"We want Johnny!" some one shouted.

"Come and get him!" he hurled back, and he advanced a step towards the mob and they, of course back down.

   End of Flood version.

   Here is Burns' version: "Wyatt Earp was dealing faro in the Oriental." Thank you! We never quite know where Wyatt is in the Flood version. We want details, smells, clothing, rifle specs, but no! The constable from Charleston with his prisoner, Mr. Deuce comes running in: "Mob coming. Going to lynch this boy. Hurry up. Do something, for Christ's sake. No time to lose."

   Cool as a cucumber, Earp finishes his faro game and closes the box and says, "Hold on to your chips, boys. I'll cash 'em as soon as I've finished with this little business matter." Then Burns adds a classic line: "As a gambler, he pushed back his chair. He rose as an officer of the law."

   Sweet. Excellent. Such a wonderful relief from trying to read Flood.

   In the Burns' version, Wyatt Earp escorts the prisoner to Vogan's bowling alley and "he posted Virgil Earp at the rear and Doc Holliday behind the locked front door."

   And, of course, Wyatt steps into the street to face the "brutes stirring to fury, the note of menace unmistakable." [Burns is so clean and succinct and good and he makes Flood look so bad.]

   Burns stretches out the dialogue:

   "Where 've you got that murdering rat hid?"

   "He's right in there." Wyatt Earp jerked his thumb at the bowling alley. " And he's going to stay in there. He's my prisoner now, and you fellers ain't goin' to get him."

   "The hell we ain't."

   Wyatt Earp cocks both barrels of his shotgun and says, "Come on, then, you yellow curs. Let's see you get him."

   "His booming voice was like the roar of a lion at bay as he flung the challenge in the mob's teeth. . .one foot advanced, his shotgun held tensely across his breast read for instant action, Wyatt Earp stood, one man against five hundred."

   Okay, so Burns has amped up the number by two hundred (Earp claimed it was 300) and Burns goes to the well one more time about Wyatt being the Lion of Tombstone. It's all very persuasive, because Burns is such a good writer and he knows how to elevate the material to poetry and, ultimately, Myth.

   End of Burns' Version

   And, so now, we come to Stuart Lake. In his version of the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce affair, Lake goes with the deadly card game and has Schneider drawing a knife before being shot. That's one point for Burns and minus one point for both Flood and Lake.

   As in the Burns version, Lake has the pursued buckboard stop at Jack McCann's but then says, "Yarn-spinners have sent Jack McCann to the constable's aid on his race-mare Molly McCarthy. The horseman who met McKelvey by chance was Virgil Earp, riding Dick Naylor, a thorrough bred animal belonging to Wyatt."

   So Lake give Burns a slap down and one-ups him to boot. Moving on to Tombstone, in Lake's version, "Virgil found Wyatt and Morgan at the Wells-Fargo office."

   "Take him into Vogan's," Wyatt told Virgil and Morgan.

   "Five hundred blood-lusting frontiersman poured into Allen Street as Virgil and Morgan got Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce into the bowling alley. Wyatt stood alone at the curbline, his shotgun in the crook of his arm."

   The mob wants Johnny, but Wyatt is rather quiet. He says, "Boys, don't you make any fool play here; that little tinhorn isn't worth it."

   Lake quotes Wyatt as saying, "Most accounts have me cursing that crowd plenty, but that was no time for hot language."

   In Lake's crowd, "every man had a shotgun, rifle or six-gun, ready to pour lead into the lone peace officer."

    Lake has Wyatt spot Dick Gird, the "multi-millionaire, employer of half of the men at his back. Wyatt points the shotgun at Gird and cooly says, "Nice mob you've got, Mr. Gird, I didn't know you trailed with such company." Gird talks the mob down after Earp points the shotgun at his belly.

   Okay, so both Burns and Lake have amped up the crowd number from 300 to 500, none of them agree on who was where in terms of the prisoner (Wyatt has Virgil putting him in the impromptu jail and Burns and Lake have him in Vogans). The dialogue is all over the place and Wyatt seems to get braver and braver with each telling. So what did the contemporary newspaper report say of the affair? Here's the January 17, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph:

"In a few minutes Allen street was jammed with an excited crowd, rapidly augmented by scores from all directions. By this time Marshal Sippy, realizing the situation at once. . .secured a well armed posse of over a score of men to prevent any attempt o the part of the crowd to lynch the prisoner. . .[he] procured a light wagon in which the prisoner was placed, guarded by himself, Virgil Earp and Deputy Sheriff Behan, assisted by a strong posse well armed." It ends by saying, "Marshal Sippy's sound judgement prevented any such outbreak as would have been the certain result, and cool as an iceburg he held the crowd in check."

   Ah, Ben Sippy is the brave one and he's not even mentioned in any of the versions we just painstakingly went through. In addition, we have Johnny Behan—yes, THAT Johnny Behan— helping the cause and he's not in any of the above versions becuase there is no way Wyatt would give him credit for anything. So that taints all three versions. What we have here is obvious exaggeration to the point of ridiculousness. And they all did it for one reason: the money. Ironic that Burns and Lake actually made good money but Wyatt Earp never made a dime. Yet, all three versions came from Wyatt. What was the need to lie like this? To be vindicated? To be famous? To be rich?

"What seems a lie is a ramshackle need, waiting to be born."
—Ray Bradbury

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wyatt Earp Super Marshal

July 19, 2015
   There were a bunch of false starts and fizzled efforts, but when the Wyatt Earp legend finally took hold in the 1930s it hit like an explosion. 

"Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Earp Super Marshal."

   And as the thirties gave way to the forties and World War II, the Earp legend hit a new high with "My Darling Clementine" in 1946, but the pop phenom still had higher to go. In the fifties we get "Gunfight at The O.K. Corral" and then the hit TV series "The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp." That was the top of the roller coaster and in the early sixites the blow back began with the publication of "The Earp Brothers of Tombstone" by Frank Waters and then we get "Doc," an anti-war flick that implies Doc and Wyatt were gay and by the eighties we get the remake of "The Lone Ranger" (no, the earlier one that was just as bad as the latest one with Johnny Depp) and if you'll remember the crooked lawman was named "Earp." But, of course, the legend got a big rebound in 1993 with "Tombstone" and then "Wyatt Earp" in 1994, so quite a bumpy ride for the old frontiersman who never could sell his life story. In fact, I think I know what his last words were in reference to:

"Suppose, suppose, I actually got paid for my life story?"
—Wyatt Earp as quoted by BBB in a moment of wild speculation

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Truth About Wyatt Earp

July 18, 2015
   Still wrestling with the truth about Wyatt Earp. Why is it so important to me? My mother's side of the family doesn't even like him, so it seems weird on a certain level to be so obsessed with what he did and what he did not do.

   John Gilchriese said to me, "You won't like him. He's not who you think he was" And, by the way, Gilchriese knew John Flood intimately.

   We now know Earp was invovled in prostitution, to what degree it's hard to say, but when a newspaper says, after his second arrest, that he's "an old offender," you kind of have to admit where there's smoke there's usually a smoking, paid for, vagina.

   He took credit for a variety of things he didn't do. He didn't kill John Ringo. He didn't disarm Ben Thompson. He didn't stand off the Johnny Behind The Deuce mob all by himself. He may not even have killed Curly Bill.

   Still, when he was in his prime he was bold and by all accounts, a ladies man. All of this played into the painting I finished this morning.

Daily Whip Out: "A Troubled Young Stud"

   I really shouldn't like him. I hate historical fakery with a passion, but,  Gilchriese was wrong: I have a very good idea of what he did and didn't do and, in spite of that, I like him. For starters, we love the same thing. In the Flood manuscript, he tells us twice what he loves, and here it is for the second time:

"The same desert that thrilled him through and through, at old Tucson, and the same blue sky: there isn't any blue like it anywhere, and Wyatt Earp loves it, and the sunshiny sun and the sands that blow upon him"
—John Flood on the last page of the 348 page manuscript on Wyatt Earp

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just Another Skinny Kid From Iowa

July 17, 2015
   Whether he wore one gun or two, is still open for debate, but one thing we can agree on is this: when he landed in Kansas in the early seventies he was just another skinny kid from Iowa.

 Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt In Wichita."

Meanwhile, forty years later, four outlaws got off the train. In the distance, a windmill squeaked ominously. They appeared to be ready for a showdown but High Noon was still decades away. The four outlaws were running from the old ways and Thomas Edison. Especially Thomas Edison.

  Daily Whip Out: "Four Future Movie Moguls at The Hollywood Train Station."

   Thomas Edison led a gang known as The Trust. He and his Waspy, east-coast cronies controlled the fledgling movie business by owning all the important patents on projectors and even film stock. You couldn't show a film in the United States without paying them fees. Plus Edison and his gang hated French films and they didn't want the "star system" to invade our shores, so they banned anything they didn't like, or think America should see. This turned out to be quite a bit.

   The outlaws who got off the train in Hollywood liked the sleepy town because if hired thugs from the Trust showed up, and they did, the gang could load their sets and equipment on trucks and head for Mexico. Soon, the entire town was filled with riff raff and ruffians, con men and criminals.

   Wyatt Earp fit right in.

"I will not say that all of the people in the motion picture industry are crooks, but I will say that all the crooks in Hollywood are in the motion picture industry."
—Zane Grey

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Much Is The Wyatt Earp Story Worth?

July 16, 2015
    Got up this morning and took another pass at the splash page illio (Razz slang for illustration) for our big Wyatt Earp October package.

 Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Earp In Hollywood: The Untold Story
of How The Legend Was Created." 

   The main elements of the Wyatt Earp story seem self-evident today, but it took a whole bunch of time and tinkering with the plot elements to find the winning formula for the hero of Tombstone and the O.K. Corral fight.

The Gunfight at The O.K. Barn?
   After Wyatt's death in 1929 and the publication of Stuart Lake's book "Frontier Marshal" in 1931, movie makers finally began to nibble at the story (Western movies were in their third decade!) One of the first films to take a crack at the Earp-Tombstone story in the 1930s placed the gunfight at "The O.K. Barn." Apparently, the screenwriter, or a producer, believed a corral wasn't quite dramatic enough, or, worthy of a showdown. There would be other tweaks along the way, but once the formula was honed in on, the floodgates opened and a whole bunch of people got rich on the story of the "flawless" lawman Wyatt Earp. 

   Granted, the dude was not flawless, and, if you have been reading the excerpts from the Flood manuscript here, you know why his middle initials are B.S. (Wyatt Barry Stapp Earp). But, in spite of the ridiculousness of Earp's efforts to tell his story—complete with all the bogus exaggerating (he did not hold off the Johnny Behind The Deuce mob all by himself, in fact, Johnny Behan was a major combatant on Earp's side!), still Wyatt Earp did do some amazing bold and brave things, such as:

• He worked the Kansas cowtowns with nerve and professional bravery. How many billiard halls would you go into, where drunk Texan cowboys were itching for a fight, and take out a miscreant who has been causing trouble—and take him out in front of his friends!—and, if he gave you any lip, hit him over the head to subdue him and arrest him? Earp did this on a regular basis in both Wichita and Dodge City and he was fearless, according to his fellow policeman Bat Masterson.

• The Walk Down: would you walk a block and a half to face off with men who had threatened your life? I, personally would walk a block-and-a-half the other way, to report them to the authorities. No, let me amend that: I would run the block-and-a-half.

  And I could go on, but you get my drift: the man had sand. So,

How About Some Justice for The Man Who Helped Bring Justice to The Sagebrush? 
   Since the early 1930s, the Wyatt Earp story has been told a thousand times in a thousand ways. Hundreds of books have been published, some 35 movies have been made—so far—and there have been several TV series (in addition to "The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp" there were knock offs, like "Tombstone Territory" which was the Wyatt Earp story in every way except in name, and, of course, Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke" is obviously based on Wyatt). Then there are the toys, a thousand magazine articles (most of them in True West), and even subdivisions with his name on them, and yet, the real Wyatt Earp never received a dime for any of it. Doesn't really seem right, does it?

 In recent years, the producers of the TV series "Vegas" paid the sheriff, the late Ralph Lamb, a cool $2 million to use his name and likeness in the series. So, by today's standards, here is how the estate of Wyatt Earp should have paid out:

Wyatt Earp—the lion's share—$12.5 million for story rights, 15% per anum residuals on any future films, and toy merchandising to be negotiated.

Sadie Earp—$4 million, co-writing scale $60,000, plus $20k for each rewrite)

John Flood—$750,000, as a ghost writer and for putting up with Sadie.

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt And Sadie Bicker Over The Modern Evaluation of Their Estate"

   I can't prove Wyatt Earp liked comic strips, but I think I know which strip he and Sadie would be right at home in.

"See you in the Funny Pages."
—Every Smart Ass Who Ever Came Out of Kingman, Arizona

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

109 Cracks! at The O.K. Corral

July 15, 2015
   Let's be perfectly clear here: I don't buy the argument that John Flood made up anecdotes and events to pad out the Wyatt Earp manuscript. He stretched anecdotes and exaggerated like crazy (see yesterday's post on Wyatt waking up before the gunfight), but all with Earp's blessing. The very idea that Wyatt was somehow duped or out of the loop is laughable. This is Wyatt's story as he and Sadie wanted it to be told. Granted, there's a ton of BS in here (Wyatt claims he bagged John Ringo for example) and Sadie altered quite a bit of landscape to keep herself out of the picture, but the basic premise of every chapter and every event covered in the 348 pages comes straight from the horse's mouth. That is my opinion.

 Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Earp Gets To Fighting (As Ike Heads for The Exit)"

   That said, it's hard to believe Wyatt Earp could tell the story of the gunfight in Tombstone and get so much of it wrong. For one thing, Wyatt drew a map of the location of the fight (which is printed in the manuscript) and where everyone stood. Incredibly, Wyatt has the fight taking place in the rear of the O.K. Corral! As we reported in True West magazine recently, that map of the wrong location recently sold at auction for $380,000! Now THAT is ironic.

   As I have previously reported there are tons of CRACK! (in my book, "The Illustrated Life & Times of Wyatt Earp," published in 1993 and revised in 1996, I have the number of "Crack!" mentions at 101, but upon closer inspection (thanks to Mark Boardman for letting spend some quality time with his copy), I have accounted for 109 CRACK! mentiones and one BANG!, as in bullets fired by the participants!). The newspapers from back in the day lists the number of shots being fired at approximately 30, which is plenty. I can easily see that this could be Earp and Flood, acting on the advice of William S. Hart, or Tom Mix, or perhaps a screenwriter who tried to help out with the project: "Trust me, the people who love Westerns love to see the word CRACK! You can't put too many in your narrative. Load it up."

   Here's how Wyatt describes Doc pulling both triggers on the Wells Fargo shotgun:

   "'Doc Holliday and his popgun!' he was furious with the ridicule that was in his mind [Wyatt is assuming Doc will be ridiculed for missing with a shotgun], and raising the weapon above his head, he flung it far across the street."

   And here are a couple of scanned pages to prove to you that I am not exaggerating on the number of CRACK! mentions:

Let's Get Crackin'!


 I count 16 on this page.

   And even more cracks:

And a staggering 26 on this page.

   As if the massive amounts of CRACK! needed justification, Wyatt and Flood add this detail: "So rapid were the flashes that the heat of the metal extended back into the butts of the forty-fives until the palms of the gunners began to burn."

   Then, perhaps because Earp and Flood think we may be tiring of the CRACK!, they switch to this:

   "ing! ing! ing! "Look out Morg, look out! you're gettin' it in the back!" shouted Wyatt Earp as streaks of fire commenced flashing from Clayboure's gun through the front window of the photograph gallery."

   If I had to guess, I would say the ing! is a ricochet? And, by the way, no capital letter there, it's "ing! ing!" as in, confus-ing!

   I believe Sadie read the manuscript over and over and I also have a strong hunch she read it aloud to Wyatt and you might make the claim he didn't care what it said, but I think that is wrong. Here again, is the preamble to the book:

   "He has tried to tell the facts and incidents as they were lived and fought; nothing has been exaggerated. As dictated, personally, by Mr. Earp to the author, the story is told, almost, with exactitude: in many instances, the vocabulary representing his precise words. . .Truth, correctness and vindication constitute the purpose of this narrative."
—John Flood

And all I can add to that with exactitude, is "Crack!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Major Cracks at The O.K. Corral

July 14, 2015
   Today is the anniversary of Billy the Kid's death and if it wasn't for Pancho Villa and Walter Noble Burns, nobody would give a damn. Here's why: if the Mexican Revolutionary general hadn't attacked Columbus, New Mexico, a news reporter from Chicago, wouldn't have gotten the assignment to travel to New Mexico and cover the story. And if the reporter, Walter Noble Burns, hadn't followed up his reporting in Columbus with another report in El Paso, he wouldn't have gone into The Coney Island Saloon. And if Burns hadn't gone into the Coney Island he wouldn't have seen the pistol over the bar that killed Billy the Kid. And if he hadn't talked to the owner about it, Tom Powers, Burns probably wouldn't have written "The Saga of Billy the Kid." And if Burns hadn't written that book none of us would care, because that best-seller raised the Kid from obscurity and launched his legend for all time. And, if Burns hadn't hit it out of the park with that book he wouldn't have gone looking for someone else to write about, which ended up to be "Tombstone An Iliad of The Southwest." and if Burns hadn't written that book we wouldn't have this paragraph to marvel at:

The Lion of Tombstone

   "So hail and farewell to the lion of Tombstone. Strong, bold, powerful, picturesque was this fighter of the old frontier. Someething epic about him. Fashioned in Homereric mold. In his way, a hero. Whatever else he may have been, he was brave. Not even his enemies have sought to deny his splendid courage. The problems of his dangerous and difficult situation, he solved, whether wisely or foolishly, with largeness of soul and utter fearlessness. No halo is for this rugged, storm-beaten head. He was a hard man among hard men in a hard environment. What he did, he did. The record stands. But, weighed in the balance, he will not be found wanting. Judged by the circumstances of his career, the verdict in his case is clear—Wyatt Earp was a man."

   But we're getting ahead of the legend, as we know it. Before Burns, there was Flood, hand picked by Wyatt and Sadie Earp to be the writer of the book on Wyatt's life that would make them all rich. They worked hard on it. They fought over sections and revised others. In the end they had a real door stopper: it clocked in at 348 pages and they were mighty enthused and hopeful.

   Unfortunately, everyone they sent it to, sent it back with a "no thanks." The Saturday Evening Post said it was "Florid." They were being nice. It is beyond florid. It is horrid. How horrid?

   The heart of the manuscript is the Gunfight in Tombstone. Even Flood knows it's Earp's defining moment, and so we begin Chapter XXXII, like this:

"Hello Wyatt!" "Hello Wyatt!" Knock! Knock! Knock! "Hello Wyatt!" But the only response was an echo of sounds along the corridor where the early riser stood before the door.

   Away at the end, a ray of light struggled in beneath the partly drawn shade—the early flush of awakening day: while the moisture on the pane indicated a lowering of the temperature outside.

   [To summarize: It's cold outside and Wyatt doesn't want to get up. But Flood's not done with this scene.]

   For a bare thirty seconds, there was silence as the alarmist listened, with his ear towards the closed entrance of the room. Then he tried again.

   "Knock! Knock! Knock! Knock! "Wyatt!" "Wyatt!" still no response, and he took hold of the knob of the door and shook it violently.

   "Don't that beat the band!" he exclaimed aloud. "Damn it all!" "Wyatt!" "Wyatt!" "Get up!" "Get up!" and he fairly shook the building as he pounded on the door with his fists.

[Okay, we get the picture. Wyatt Earp doesn't want to get up and it does beat the band. Certainly, we can move on to the action?]

   Whether it was the vociferous superlatives of the last remarks or his impatient pounding on the door, was never explained by the sleeper within who now showed signs of life. This time, there was a faint stretching of springs as if some one had raised up suddenly in bed:

   "Huh?" "What is it?" came the half conscious tones of a sleepy voice on the inside.

   "Is that you Wyatt!"

   "Yes, u-h-m-m, yes, what is it?" "Me?" "Yes, all right." and then there was the sound of a heavy tread upon the door, and a fumbling with the lock, and the door opened.

   "Wyatt, hurry and put on your clothes: the two McLowerys [sic] and the Clantons are in town, and Billy the Kid and they're armed for a fight!"

   End of quotes from the opening of the Tombstone gunfight in Flood's florid hand. Notice that we have come full circle and that Earp-Flood are trying to lean on Billy the Kid being in on the action. Yes, Billy Claiborne was known as Billy the Kid, but still, this has an extra tinge of cheesy to it, like they're trying to cash in on the Burns book.

   But just wait until we get to the main action, where the cowboys and the Earps exchange 110 shots (actually 109 CRACKs! and one BANG!) and Wyatt draws a map, that places the fight in the wrong place.

"Well, we won't put them to all that trouble, we'll go down," declared the deputy, and he and his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, buckled on their forty-fives."
—Wyatt Earp, as quoted by Flood, acknowledging they wore gunbelts, although in the Spicer Hearing he puts his pistol in his coat pocket.